How to make your emergency vet want to punch you
|July 27, 2011||Posted by woof2069 under Care + Health, How-to guides|
“ The guy came in without a shirt or shoes!”
“ I swear, their whole clan was there.”
“ You can tell they were lying…”
These are just some snippets from a dinner conversation I had with a group of emergency vets about what bugged them this past week at work. Frantic owners, screaming children, vague accounts of the accident are all in a days work. I suspect there must be a mandatory course on handling chaotic but well-meaning owners somewhere in their education. A dinner with a group of people of the same profession often leads to some shoptalk and workplace venting. As I discovered, often the hardest part of their job is not treating the animal, but being able extract the relevant information, do a thorough examination, and communicate with the distraught owner about the situation.
They really just want to help you and your pet. Though in times of stress, our brains shut down. We unintentionally become disruptive to the process, possibly to the point of annoying those who are trying to help. If you have ever visited an emergency animal clinic, think back – did you do anything that may warrant a punch in the face? Here’s what I gathered (and interpreted with some creative license) from that dinner conversation as the most annoying behaviour vets encounter in the examination room.
What an emergency vet wish you would not do:
1. Whole family speak at once
It is hard for us to assess what happened or what is going on with your pet if everyone is speaking. We can’t hear what each of you are saying. We can’t examine your pet properly. Nominate a family speaker, and add in information as necessary. It will help us understand faster, better, and be able to treat your pet more quickly.
2. Bring your children and let them scream, yell, play, be disruptive
We know finding childcare in a pinch is hard, but when no effort is made to control your kids in an examining room where a lot of equipment, breakables, and pointy things are is just not smart. The loud noise and strange environment are probably stressing your pet out already and we can’t really hear what you have to tell us. Please call a friend to watch your kids in the waiting room.
3. Ask repeatedly if we are lying to you
No, we are not. We are not trying to gauge you. We want the best for you and your pet. Dishonestly doesn’t serve anyone in an emergency situation.
4. Try to cover up what happened
Sometimes dogs will get into things in our homes that are not intended for them. A squeamish one for many owners to fess up to would be good ol’ weed. Marijuana poisoning is more common than you think. We know it is a sensitive issue and why you don’t want to admit having it. Tell us the truth. We don’t care. We don’t judge. We just want to save your pet’s life.
5. Ignore visiting hours
We know how traumatic having your pet go through major surgery or have to deal with a serious illness. But when they are recovering and boarding at the clinic, please don’t hang out for three hours and then call an hour later to check in. We will update you on your pet’s progress. This is an emergency clinic, and we need to move around quickly and can’t cater to a lot of visitors. Think ER, but for animals. That’s exactly what we are.
6. Not treat your dog in a timely manner
There are so many things that can be dealt with if you bring in your pet at the first sign of an illness. Coughing, ear infections, abnormal bowel movements, anything you know is out of the ordinary for your dog should be looked at and assessed. Don’t come in and complain about waiting to see a vet and the high cost of treatment if you neglect to seek help for your pet when a problem is apparent.
Most of the time, those issues can be dealt with at your regular vet if action is taken once symptoms are showing. It will be cheaper and more humane.
7. Hit, kick or throw things at us
You love your pet, your pet is hurt, and you are stressed. We get that, but don’t hit us if we tell you something you may not be prepared to hear. There are times a pet cannot be saved or the options are very limited. We vow to do our best and want to save your pet as much as you do. But you need to hear and know what is going on to make the decisions. So please don’t physically assault us. You will be asked to leave.
8. Talk, text, play on the phone
Yes, you are and will be paying big bucks to have your pet seen in an emergency clinic, but that does not mean you can treat us like your personal assistant. Please don’t answer your phone or carry on a text conversation while we are conversing with you about your pet. Please don’t order us to stay while you go outside to talk on the phone.
This is an emergency hospital and we need to assess and treat your pet quickly and in a timely manner. Be present and be there for your pet. There are many other patients waiting outside. Remember out there in the waiting room? Yes, there are other people waiting as well. Please respect everyone’s time. Unless your call is from someone who has direct information about the issue at hand or will be making treatment decisions, it can wait 10mins.